Thursday, September 6, 2012

When and How To Conduct Business Using Social Media

As my friend Heather, an etiquette expert will sure agree there soon will be official rules on what constitutes as proper communication for business using social media. One would think that some of this would be a common sense issue, but I have learned the hard way that these kind of things must be explained rather than assumed. Lately, I have threatened to throw my computer out the window at the random ways I have been contacted to do business. I am convinced that some people lack the filter and unfortunately because I am wired so differently, I am losing new business because of it. I don't know if some will take this as an offense or a no dur to these thoughts of mine but it has been bugging me lately compelling me to take it to the blog. Lucky you! Actually, if every thought I had ended up here, I am not really should WHAT would happen. Anyways, I digress...

The term itself should help this conversation along...it is SOCIAL media. I know this has made you completely reachable at all times via Facebook, email and text message but some courtesy of how and when to contact should be heeded.

The easiest thing to talk about is the time that you reach out to your business contacts. I think that when communicating via text message is a practice that gets abused the most. If it is business related, it should be between business hours unless you or your business is on fire and I am in charge of the water. Having said that, most people know that if you contact me at dawn on any given day, I am up and probably on cup of coffee number 2. But for sane people, it is really courteous to keep this between the hours of 9a-5p Monday-Friday. Not too long ago, I was contacted for new business at 9p via text message. I am not quite sure that this is ok. And of course, I forgot about it until two days later. A good practice if this happens is to not answer it until the next business morning/timeframe. I feel if you answer it back you are encouraging that this is ok. Maybe this doesn't bother you, but then it gets to the point that there is just no limit of what is work and what is not anymore.

Emailing is a little different but not too much. I tend to email at all hours of the night but tend to use schedulers like Buffer or Snooze (free) or Boomerang so it reaches the client at an appropriate time. There is nothing like the feeling of waking up to a nasty email that was sent after hours, kind of sets the pace of your say, huh? If you must send an email after hours, it really doesn't hurt to say "Sorry for this late or weekend email, please dont write me back until it is working hours"

Facebook Messages and IM's. This is where I get a little unkind. Why is anyone conducting business via Facebook aside from initial contact is beyond me. What frustrates me is that it is a little obtrusive,  Do you agree? The Facebook, my personal Facebook page is where I enlighten and inspire with witty prattle and cute pictures of my niecey poo, it is my place to be me, not necessarily the platform to conduct business. My suggestion that would keep me from putting my head through a glass window is to contact them via message, NOT an IM with your contact email and number and let the conversation take place over there.

Of course you could always pick up the phone...


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